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U Pittsburgh start-up is developing a solution to the superbug crisis


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: January 10th, 2018

A University of Pittsburgh start-up is developing a technology to prevent a superbug epidemic.

Peptilogics recently closed on a $5.5 million Series A funding round led by star investor Peter Thiel. The start-up is preparing to launch clinical trials for its products, which attack dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria by creating weak spots in cell membranes to kill the cells.

While the World Health Organization has identified 51 new products to treat priority antibiotic-resistant organisms, only eight of those were labeled as innovative treatments that would add value to current treatments.

According to Peptilogics chairman Dietrich Stephan, the startup’s products “work in a way that no other antibiotics work.”

“They kill every type of bacteria we have exposed our products to,” says Stephan. “This is a looming global epidemic, and we feel like we’ve got the answer to that, and I think the market agrees.”

Among the organisms that Peptilogics will first target are Gram-negative bacteria, which cause pneumonia and bloodstream infections. The start-up is one of 10 companies that will have work space in Pitt’s new business accelerator.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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